Talk of the Trains: Part 2: Traveling With a Toddler

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Part 2: Traveling With a Toddler

Alright, so I already told you about how we handle long drives with our almost 11 month old. Now let me tell you about food. 

AM is either breastfed or eats the food we have made her. Obviously making your own food and desiring to take it on the road with you can be complicated. Until our D.C. trip AM ate 100% foods made at home {some of those recipes are found under the "Baby Topics" tab up top} and while we packed our homemade foods for the trip, we also needed a back up plan. 

The day we left, I made a quick trip to Target to pick up some of these little "Plum" squeeze food things {seen on the right in the picture below}. We have a little spoon attachment that goes with them that kind of works, but most of the time we just squeeze it straight into AM's mouth. These little squeeze bags were our contingency plan and were our saving grace.

As for our homemade food, we had a cooler and in the cooler we packed each of her meals separately. We knew we would be gone for 9 days and at 2 solid meals a day that meant we needed 18 bags of food. We threw in 2 more just for good measure and a total of 20 bags. All of the food cubes were frozen when we started out and so we just filled it full of ice and took off. 

Bags of frozen food stuffed in the cooler

At each of our stops, we would unload our cooler into the freezer so that the food would stay frozen or we would repack it with ice. A few hours before AM's meal, we would pull out her food and put it in tupperware so that it could have time to melt before she ate. This system worked really well and was super easy. If we knew we were going to be gone through lunch and dinner, we packed both. We did ours just like you would if you were pulling jars of food, we just had to wash the tupperware versus throwing away the jar. 

AM eating at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing

The one bad thing was at the end of the week, we had a full day of travel and no time to fill up with ice. There was no freezer in our hotel room either some of her meals were melting. We probably could have gotten away with giving her the food for another day or two, but I thought it looked icky and so I opted just to trash it and give her the Plum squeeze things. It was only a day and a half's worth of food and since we had already made it 8 days, I wasn't too worried. 

Napping in her stroller after a large meal!

Anyway, the Plum things were lifesavers and to this day, we never leave home without them. Not only do they serve as good back up, but they also are handy when you have a screaming child in the grocery store or an inconsolable fuss bucket out at dinner. We leave one or two in her diaper bag and though we don't need them often, they are great to have on hand in case! 

I know many of you are just shaking your head thinking that I am crazy for not just giving her jarred food while traveling and you are probably right. I knew from the start I wanted to make AM's baby food as the smell of jarred stuff makes me gag. Making it at home has also saved us lots of money and me being the cheapskate I am, I was all for that. Since we had our little travel system all set up and since it worked well, we just rolled with it. I know if we were flying somewhere this would not have been do-able but for our driving trip, it worked.

In hindsight, if we were going on another trip like this and you asked me if I would take our food or just use jarred stuff, I would absolutely take ours and do nothing different than I did this last time. All in all, I was pleased with how we were able to keep up with our normal food and only substitute in back up a few times. I may be a bit more diligent about keeping it frozen towards the end, but it was really easy and no more challenging than packing and storing regular baby food. Pin It Now!


  1. You're such a great planner! And the logistics are so great to know for the future.

  2. Dry Ice in a big cooler would keep the food frozen for as long as you need it.

  3. Love this! You are such a fabulous mom! I think I am going to enjoy doing things like this when we have kids in a few years!

  4. You are such a good mommy, Lauren! So impressed with your organization for sweet AM!

  5. Wow! This is great! Do you feed her multiple foods at once? And, just have them melt and mix together in the tupperware? Also, how fancy have you gotten in the foods? I would love some new recipes, but the puree book I have uses butter and onions in everything...I don't think I'm ready for that! Anyway, you're an amazing mother and I cannot believe how dedicated you are. Thanks for sharing!


Blogging tips